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Disney Genie and Genie+ are a big part of your Disneyland vacation. Learn everything you need to know to maximize these tools, and what to avoid. This is your complete guide and insider tips to Disney Genie+ and Lightning Lanes at Disneyland.
When Disneyland reopened after the pandemic, it did so without Fastpass or Maxpass. And while the lower crowds made that possible, as capacity increased, so did the call for a return of some sort of “skip the line pass” from guests.
Enter Disney Genie and Genie+. Called the next generation of MaxPass, the new system has many similarities, but some very important differences.
To make matters even more complicated, the system works differently at Walt Disney World and Disneyland (even down to the price point), so it is important you make sure you read up on how the system works at Disneyland.
Here is your guide to Disney Genie and Genie+ at Disneyland… you ain’t never had a friend like this…
Guide To Disney Genie And Genie Plus At Disneyland
Disney Genie and Genie+ (Plus) are Disneyland’s new tools to help you plan your day at the park. Both are utilized in the Disneyland App.
Disney Genie is the free version available to all guests, while Genie+ is the upgraded version that includes options like Lightning Lane access and photo downloads.
Here is your FAQ for the two systems.
What Is The Free Disney Genie?
The free Disney Genie is a “tip board” in the Disneyland app, which you can find by choosing the hamburger menu (3 lines) on the app screen.
Free Disney Genie has lists of rides and allows you to pick interests and it will give you suggestions on what to do for the day.
Honesty moment – FREE DISNEY GENIE IS PRETTY WORTHLESS. Yes, that deserved all caps- aka internet yelling.
Disney experts have tested the free one over and over and found it sends you to places that will not help you maximize your day. It has you hopping lands too often, and it leaves giant gaping time slots in your day.
My advice- IGNORE THE FREE DISNEY GENIE! Instead, focus on learning park strategies from myself and other Disneyland experts that test them out regularly. I also suggest joining my Disneyland with Kids Facebook Group to see what is working for other guests in there.
What Is Disney Genie+?
Disney Genie+ is an upgrade to Disney Genie that unlocks the ability to utilize Lightning Lanes on select attractions, cutting your wait time on those rides.
What Is The Cost of Disney Genie+?
Disney Genie+ is currently $30/person/day – WHEN PURCHASED IN ADVANCE!!! Genie+ pricing may vary by date and STARTS at $30/day. But when you prepurchase it with your ticket, you lock in that $30 rate. So if you think you will use Genie+ definitely pre-purchase it.
You can pre-purchase discounted tickets with Disney Genie+ included via my partners at Get Away Today. I definitely suggest doing this so you do not have to try and worry about purchasing after you enter the park. (More on that in a moment)
Note: As of June 8, 2022, Walt Disney World tickets are not be able to prepurchase Genie+. This is only for WORLD… Disneyland still allows pre-purchase of Genie+
What Is Included with Disney Genie+?
Disney Genie+ includes access to Lightning Lanes at 20 attractionsat Disneyland Resort.
It also includes the ability to download your ride and photopass photos from that day.
How To Purchase Disney Genie+
You can purchase Disney Genie+ two different ways.
Pre-Purchase Disney Genie+ with Your Park Tickets
I suggest if you are going during a time that you expect large crowds, to definitely purchase Genie+ ahead of time, included on your park ticket.
I always suggest purchasing tickets via my partner at Get Away Today for discounted prices, but another great reason to pre-purchase tickets with Genie+ is this locks in the Genie+ price.
That means if the price goes up later, you still have your Genie+ ticket.
Get Away Today’s current tickets are valid through December 2023, so you can lock in that price for all of this year and next!
Purchase Genie+ Day-By-Day
The other option for purchasing Disney Genie+ is to purchase it day-by-day through the Disneyland App.
To do this, you will not be able to purchase Genie+ until after you scan into the parks for the day.
Purchasing via the app is fairly quick, but does keep you from making an immediate selection after scanning into the park.
The plus side of this is you can avoid paying for the service on days you either don’t need it or decide you don’t want to use it.
If budget keeps you from pre-purchasing Genie+ this is another great option.
If your budget does not allow for you to purchase Genie+ every day, I suggest picking one or two days to buy it and really focusing on the rides included and getting photopass photos those days.
What Is Lightning Lane And What Lightning Lanes Are Included in Genie+?
The largest draw of the Genie+ at Disneyland is its access to Lightning Lanes. While Lightning Lanes are a new term, Disney is definitely not new to the “skip the line” option.
Here is your FAQ about Lightning Lanes and Genie+
What Are Lightning Lanes?
Lightning Lanes are what we used to call Fastpass lanes. They are a line where you return at an assigned time and have a shorter wait to get on the rides.
Lightning Lanes ARE NOT immediate access. You will still have a short wait, but it is usually under 20 minutes, and oftentimes less than 10 on many attractions. However, on busy days you may find Lightning Lanes to have a longer wait.
What Rides’ Lightning Lanes Are Included With Genie+?
While 24 attractions have a Lightning Lane, only 22 attractions are included with Genie+
The attractions included with your Genie+ purchase at Disneyland Resort are:
At Disneyland Park:
- Autopia, Tomorrowland
- Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Frontierland
- Buzz Lightyear Astroblasters, Tomorrowland
- Haunted Mansion, New Orleans Square
- Indiana Jones Adventure, Adventureland
- “it’s a small world”, Fantasyland
- Matterhorn Bobsleds, Fantasyland
- Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, Toontown
- Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
- Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, Toontown
- Space Mountain, Tomorrowland
- Splash Mountain, Critter Country
- Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, Tomorrowland
At Disney California Adventure Park:
- Goofy’s Sky School, Paradise Gardens Park
- Grizzly River Run, Grizzly Peak
- Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!, Avengers Campus
- Incredicoaster, Pixar Pier
- Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue!, Hollywoodland
- Soarin’ Around The World (sometimes rethemed as Soarin’ Over California), Grizzly Peak Airfield
- The Little Mermaid – Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, Paradise Gardens Park
- Toy Story Midway Mania!, Pixar Pier
- WEB SLINGERS: A Spider-Man Adventure, Avengers Campus
Individual Lightning Lanes – What Are They?
As mentioned earlier, not all rides Lightning Lane Access is included with Genie+ at Disneyland.
Popular rides, such as Rise of the Resistance in Galaxy’s Edge, utilize an a la carte Lightning Lane option – called Individual Lightning Lanes (or ILL).
Need to Know: Individual Lightning Lanes are an additional cost and may be purchased by guests after scanning into the parks, whether or not you have Genie+.
For this reason, some guests choose to only purchase Genie+ certain days, and purchase Individual Lightning Lanes on other days.
What Rides Have Individual Lightning Lanes for Purchase?
At this time three rides offer Individual Lightning Lanes, though I expect it may be four when Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway opens in 2023 (unless Web Slingers no longer offers it…but I digress).
- Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge
Disney California Adventure Park
- Radiator Springs Racers, Cars Land
How Much Do Individual Lightning Lanes Cost?
At Disneyland Resort, Individual Lightning Lanes can cost anywhere between $10-35 per person/ride.
Rise of the Resistance usually is $25 or more. While Radiator Springs Racers usually starts at $15. These prices are dynamic and may be lower or higher based on anticipated demand for the day.
How Many Individual Lightning Lanes Can I Purchase?
Each person/ticket may purchase up to two Individual Lightning Lane return times per day.
Can I Book Individual Lightning Lanes and a Genie+ Lightning Lane?
Yes. These two do not overlap, so even if you are waiting to redeem a return time for your Individual Lightning Lane you may book a Genie+ Lightning Lane or vice versa.
How Early Do Individual Lightning Lanes Sell Out?
Individual Lightning Lanes can sell out, but at Disneyland Resort this has not been an issue as much as it has been at Walt Disney World.
Rise of the Resistance tends to sell out around noon, but sometimes can still be available around 3 pm.
Radiator Springs Racers rarely sells out before the dinner hour.
Even though you can purchase them much later in the day at Disneyland than Walt Disney World, if you have your heart set on one of these rides I would not wait too long to purchase. Both Rise of the Resistance and Radiator Springs Racers have frequent breakdowns, which can cause return times to sell out much earlier (because the system sometimes stops selling them).
How To Use Genie+ To Make Lightning Lane Selections
When I tested out Disney Genie+ a few days after it was released, I found the system a bit clunky and hard to navigate. Now that the system seems to have some of the bugs worked out, and I have gotten used to it a bit more, I find it easier to work with.
Below I will walk you through how to make a Lightning Lane Selection using Genie+ AND how to make an Individual Lightning Lane selection.
Making a Lightning Lane Selection With Disney Genie+ (Video Included)
Before you begin making lightning lane selections with Genie+, be sure you have the Disneyland App on your phone and are signed into your account. Your park tickets will need to be linked to your account as well.
If you did not purchase tickets with Genie+ included, you will first need to purchase Genie+ for the day for the tickets you want to use it with.
Once you are scanned into the park, and have purchased Genie+ here is how you make a Lightning Lane Selection:
How To Make a Disney Genie+ Lightning Lane Selection
In the Disneyland App, you will access the Tip Board to make your Lightning Lane Selection. There are two ways to get there. You can open up your Disneyland App at home and practice both ways to find which one you prefer.
- “The Long Way Around” Using the map feature, bring up the attraction you wish to book. When the attraction details bubble pops up, click on the bubble to take you to the full page description. There, if the attraction offers Lightning Lane, you will see a blue LL – click that which takes you to the Tip Board, where you can scroll down to that ride. Tap “book this experience.”
- “The Shortcut” With the Disneyland App open, tap the hamburger menu (3 lines) in the bottom right hand corner. On the page that opens up, tap the Tip Board. Scroll down to the ride you wish to make a Lightning Lane selection for and tap “book this experience.”
After you tap “Book This Experience” you will have a chance to edit who you are getting a Lightning Lane for. Remember that many Lightning Lane Rides have height requirements.
How To Make an Individual Lightning Lane Selection/Purchase
An Individual Lightning Lane Purchase is done the same way as a regular Lightning Lane purchase, except you will have an extra step of agreeing to the fees and verifying your card information.
How to Redeem a Lightning Lane
To redeem your Lightning Lane, you will enter the Disneyland App, tap the hamburger menu if needed, and go to “My Disney Day” where you will be able to bring up your Genie+ return time and bar code to scan.
All members of the party with a return time will have a barcode, and you can swipe through them quickly.
You will place this bar code on your phone in the scanner, which will turn green if you have a valid return time.
When Can I Make My First Lightning Lane Selection?
At Disneyland, you may make your first Lightning Lane Selection once you have scanned into a park. Even if you scan in before “official” park opening, you can make a selection.
If you are making a selection before Rope Drop, and some rides are not showing available, this is usually because they are unsure if the ride will be ready to open at park opening.
When Can I Make My Next Lightning Lane Selection?
This is the part that tends to confuse people who have never used Lightning Lane or the old MaxPass system.
You can make a new Lightning Lane selection when one of the two following conditions are met:
- You have scanned in for your original Lightning Lane
- 2 hours has passed since you last requested a Lightning Lane
So for example, if it is 8 am, and I request a Lightning Lane for Space Mountain, and get a return time of 9 am, I can request a second Lightning Lane once I have scanned into Space Mountain.
Alternatively, let’s say at noon I book a return time that is 4 pm, so four hours away. I will be able to make another selection at 2 pm, even though my first return time has not opened up.
If you get confused, you will be able to see when each guest is able to make another selection when you book the first return time, or it will pop up if you try to book a second one too early.
Can I Get A Lightning Lane For The Same Ride Again?
No. Unlike with the old Fastpass and MaxPass system, you may only use the Lightning Lane for each ride once per day per ticket. Any additional times will require you to utilize either the standby or, if offered, single rider line.
The exception is if you have a multi-experience pass that works for the ride. These passes are explained more under the next FAQ.
What If A Ride Goes Down During My Return Time?
If a ride goes down during your return time, you will be issued a multi-experience pass. This allows you to use the Lightning Lane, or shorter wait, on rides listed under the “Find Out Where You Can Use” section.
This will not count as your Lightning Lane for that ride, so if it comes back up, you will be able to request a Lightning Lane for this ride again.
This is a hack that my friend Leslie talks about in her Advanced Genie+ Strategy Article… Request Lightning Lanes for a ride you expect to still be down by the return time to rack up some multi-experience tickets.
Multi-Experience Return Times are good for the entire day, so I like to save these and use them when I am not able to get a quick return time.
Can I Make A Lightning Lane Selection For The Other Park Using Disney Genie+?
If you have a parkhopper ticket, yes, you may make a selection for the other park. If it is before parkhopping begins, you must wait until the return time is after parkhopping begins (currently 11 am).
What Happens If I Miss My Lightning Lane Return Time?
First, make sure you have notifications for the Disneyland App turned on. Your phone will send a notification at the beginning of your return time.
Second, if you realize you will not make your return time before the end of the window, CANCEL IT! Then it will allow you to choose that ride again later on.
BUT- if you do miss the return time…
You will not be able to choose that ride again, and must utilize the standby line if you wish to ride it that day.
This is a bummer, so if you are barely missing your return time, this next tip is important.
Know the Grace Period of Lightning Lane Return Times
The return windows actually have a grace period of 5 minutes before and 15 minutes after, giving you an extra 20 minutes that you may utilize your return time.
What If I Want To Cancel A Lightning Lane Selection?
You can easily cancel a Lightning Lane Selection via the app.
Use the hamburger menu (3 lines) to access your account and tap on “My Genie Day.” Here you can access your Lightning Lane selections and cancel them any time before the return window is up.
If you fail to cancel or use your Lightning Lane selection, like in the question above, you will not be able to make another return time for that same ride that day.
Can I Make Lightning Lane Selections From My Hotel?
If you have scanned into a park, and then leave for a mid-day break at your hotel to rest or swim in the hotel pool, you can continue making Lightning Lane Selections from your hotel. Just be sure to keep an eye on the return times.
This is a great strategy for those who want that mid-day rest, and then want to have several return times for later in the day, if you can get the timing to work out.
Can I get a Refund If I Don’t Use Lightning Lane That Day?
If the app is down for the day as far as making selections, seek out Guest Services to talk about getting a credit or refund.
If you simply do not utilize the Lightning Lanes or Photopass/Ride Photos during your day, you will not be able to get a refund for Genie+.
If you are on a tight budget and worried about how much you will utilize the service, I suggest purchasing Genie+ each day as you enter the park instead of purchasing ahead.
Other Benefits To Disney Genie+ at Disneyland
At Walt Disney World, Genie+ is merely the way to access Lightning Lanes for shorter waits. At Disneyland however, Genie+ includes another benefit that makes it worthwhile for at least one member of your party to purchase this product.
Photopass Photos and Ride Photos
At Disneyland Resort, Genie+ comes with the added benefit of receiving digital downloads of your Photopass and Ride Photos.
I have a Photopass and Ride Photos article coming soon, but if you utilize Photopass, a Cast Member can show you how to find your QR code to scan to receive your photos in the app.
For Ride photos, you will utilize the code shown on the preview screen at the ride exit. Be sure to get the full code, including the beginning letter.
You will have 45 days from the date they were taken to download your photos from the app or the Disneyland Photopass website.
Discounted Tickets with Genie+ Lock In Your Rates
Now that you know all about Genie+ make sure you lock in the current rate with discounted tickets. You can buy these tickets with Genie+ already included from my partners at Get Away Today. Tickets can be purchased now for use through 2023… this is awesome because if the Genie+ price goes up, you will have locked in the current rate.